The holidays are approaching and smart retailers know email is an effective channel for reaching customers. In terms of ROI, email is the most effective marketing channel, generating an average of $38 for every dollar spent. And consumers consistently rate email as the top channel for brand communications — regardless of age. From millennials to Baby Boomers, a majority of consumers prefer email.
The mere mention of autonomous transportation still evokes images from sci-fi movies for some people. However, the reality is that this concept is not pie-in-the-sky talk — it’s really here. And it won’t be long before it’s mainstream. In fact, PwC’s 2017 Commercial Transportation Trends report revealed that 2016 was a breakout year for new technologies in the commercial transport industry, even while many companies still resisted them.
According to the 2015 Manufacturing Report by Illinois-based accounting firm Sikich LLP, 53% of those polled are still using manual processes to measure key performance indicators (KPIs). Eleven percent of survey respondents reported using custom built/legacy applications to monitor their KPIs, and only 26% are using an ERP (enterprise resource planning) solution. So, if you’re reading this and your company still isn’t too far down the automation spectrum, it may offer some consolation knowing you’re in good company.
When looking for ways to optimize productivity in a warehouse or DC, often the emphasis is on time- and labor-saving features and functions of hardware and software with less attention given to ergonomics, which is the study of people’s efficiency in their working environment. Unless your company plans to run a totally automated warehouse, it’s important to look beyond equipment speeds and feeds and consider ergonomic factors, such as equipment design and feel and the workflows employees follow to complete their daily tasks. A few tweaks could make a world of difference not just in productivity, but safety too.
Despite a lot of talk about mobile payments over the past decade, we’re still way behind many other countries. Right now, in China, for example, there are entire cities where cash is virtually not used and plastic is being used less and less. A recent article from NPR reported that China did $5.5 trillion through mobile payments last year (about 50 times the amount in the U.S.).
The holiday rush is quickly approaching, and if last year is any indicator of what’s ahead, retail sales are about to skyrocket, beginning with Black Friday. Last year, online sales grew 20% over 2015, and overall retail sales grew 10.5%, reaching $97.7 billion between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31. Black Friday was the top online shopping day ever in the United States last year — until it was surpassed by Cyber Monday sales a few days later.
Amazon isn’t the only company finding common ground for humans and robots in its warehouses. Earlier this year in Tennessee, DHL began testing robots to assist its pickers in order fulfillment. Rather than pushing a bin or cart, the robots work alongside workers, helping them pick out medical devices that need to be shipped quickly. Third-party logistics provider Quiet Logistics Inc., which fulfills online orders for retailers like Bonobos and Zara, uses the same type of mobile robots in one of its warehouses to support its employees.
Ask yourself this: Do your customers find your marketing emails useful? Honestly, do they? A statistic I came across from Fluent suggests consumers think marketing emails are consistently useful only 15 percent of the time and not useful nearly 60 percent of the time.
Businesses have prioritized interacting with customers through mobile devices to create stronger relationships. They have even developed their own apps to better communicate with their customers as a personal touch. However, according to PC World, the amount of apps downloaded has decreased by 20 percent in 2016. Are consumers settling with the popular used social media apps and decreasing their need for other apps? On average, consumers hardly download even one app in a month’s time.
On Cyber Monday (Nov. 27, 2017), NRF estimates over 120 million people in the U.S. will go online to conduct some of their holiday shopping. While most consumers see this day as the beginning of the holiday shopping season, retailers know the season is really the culmination of months of hard work and preparation.